That was the subject line I received a couple days ago. The remainder of the email was very personal and heart wrenching, even for me.
A young reader emailed me that she ran up her credit cards because she had to pay for medical treatment for her and her newborn. This was her first child, the father swore he would stay with her and help raise the child, but his parents thought better of it, and she was trying to maintain a small apartment because living with her family wasn’t an option. Her mother would secretly send her some money to pay for bills every month, but it wasn’t enough.
She said that she had been reading several PF blogs out there, and they all said the same things about how to stay out of trouble, but little or nothing about what to do if trouble came.
I’m not about to argue with her that there are, in fact several great writers out there who do give advice for getting out of a jam, mainly because that’s not what she needs to hear. She needs to hear that she and her newborn will be okay. She wanted to hear that all hope wasn’t lost.
This is a developing issue, but I started by putting her to work. I need more information about her total circumstances, but she needs a new place to live. She can’t afford to live in the same place as she is, because it took a large portion of both her and her boy’s income to pay for it in the first place. Now, she is severely limited in the income area, and she has a large expense. I sent her out to find a place that she could afford to live in, while she temporarily takes advantage of some of the programs that are designed for these situations. Its a little funny: I’m usually foursquare against programs like Wic (just as an example) because they encourage people to remain in that situation by not forcing them off.
This case is a little different.
The next thing she needs to do, is to pressure, with whatever means necessary, her boy, and his family to do the right thing. Normally, that means marriage for a guy like me, but in this case it doesn’t. The guy is such a flake and scumbag, that I wouldn’t wish my worst enemy to have to wake up next to him every day. She does need his money, and if he can’t man-up and pay, then she needs his family’s money.
Once she has some income (and I strongly emphasize that she needs to get a job as soon as she is physically able to), a place to stay, and someone to help with the babysitting at some point, she can worry about taking care of the debt she ran up. Most credit card companies will work with her to make sure she doesn’t have her credit ruined, especially since she is going to make at least minimum payments. Will it take a few hits? Sure, but who cares? If there is no alternative, then she just has to live within the limitations of reality.
I’ve pledged to help her in whatever way I can, but I made it clear that she has to be proactive here. I’ve asked her for some information. If she gets it, and shows some signs that she’s doing the best she can, I will help her. If, she instead decides that doing that much work is too much, then I truly wish her good luck, and success in life. I think she’s ready to get out of the situation, and I understand that its hard with everything else going on, but I cannot undo what has been done without her total commitment.
I wasn’t going to mention any of this here, because I think some things should remain private, but this reader asked me to share some parts of the story (I adamantly refuse to relate all of it). I guess the real world has done little else but make assumptions, pass judgements, and wait for her to fail.
Shame on the real world.